Natasha Margaret Kaplinsky[1] (born 9 September 1972)[2] is a British newsreader and television presenter, best known for her presenting roles with the BBCChannel 5Sky News and ITV.

Kaplinsky joined the BBC to present the Breakfast programme from 2002-2005. She remained with the BBC, occasionally presenting their News at Six. In October 2005, the BBC announced that Kaplinsky was to leave the channel. She then joined Channel 5 and presented their news for two years, before joining ITV to present the celebrity talent show Born to Shine and the ITV News as an occasional presenter.

She won the first series of the BBC talent show Strictly Come Dancing in 2004.


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Kaplinsky's parents are Raphael Kaplinsky, an exiled Jewish South African[3] economics professor at the Open University, and his wife Catherine Kaplinsky née Charlewood, a psychotherapist.

Her paternal grandparents originated from Slonim (then in Poland, now in Belarus), and emigrated to South Africa in 1929. Kaplinsky was born in Brighton, but spent her early life in Kenya (where she claims to have been fluent inSwahili),[4] although she later returned to the United Kingdom, where she was brought up in BarcombeEast Sussex. She attended Ringmer Community College, until the age of sixteen when she moved to Varndean College in Brighton.

After graduating in English from Hertford CollegeOxford in 1995,[2] one of her first jobs was working in the press offices of Labour leaders Neil Kinnock and John Smith.

Kaplinsky was the subject of one of a series of BBC television programmes, Who Do You Think You Are?, in which well-known people trace their family trees. Kaplinsky's programme was broadcast on 6 September 2007.[5][6] She followed her paternal line to Slonim and was shown official documentation relating to her cousin's family. This included the death of family members during the "liquidation" – massacre – of the Slonim ghetto by the Nazis and another's escape to the partisans and eventual emigration to Australia. Her maternal line included an apothecary to King George III.

Broadcasting career[edit]Edit

Early career[edit]Edit

Kaplinsky started out presenting on F2F, a youth chat show, for Granada Talk TV in 1996[2] with co-host Sacha Baron Cohen. She then moved to presenting early morning news bulletins at Meridian. Within six months she was co-presenting their evening news programme Meridian Tonight. In 1999 she moved to ITV's London News Network[2] where she hosted London Today and London Tonight and a political programme called Seven Days.

In November 2000, she moved to Sky News, where she co-presented Live at Five with Jeremy Thompson, as well as the breakfast news programme Sunrise.

BBC News[edit]Edit

Main article: BBC News[1][2]Kaplinsky and George Alagiahpresenting the BBC News at Six in 2006

Kaplinsky joined the BBC to present BBC Breakfast in November 2002, from Monday to Thursday alongside Dermot Murnaghan, following the departure of Sophie Raworth to present the BBC News at Six. Kaplinsky eventually left Breakfast in May 2005, to become an occasional presenter on the News at Six. Kaplinsky also acted as main weekday presenter on the News at Six, when Raworth was on maternity leave in October 2005. She was replaced as the main weekday presenter on Breakfast by Sian Williams.

In 2006, Kaplinsky became only the third woman to present the BBC's Ten O'Clock News, after Fiona Bruce (regular presenter) and Sian Williams who had co-presented the programme from the studio in Westminster with Huw Edwards in April 2005. She continued to present the programme occasionally in 2007, and was also on the One O'Clock News.

From May 2007, Kaplinsky took part in a trial on BBC One in Birmingham, where she presented a news update at 20:00, between 60–90 seconds long.[7]

On 5 October 2007 the BBC confirmed that Kaplinsky had decided to depart the BBC to become a presenter of Five News. She presented her last Six O'Clock News on 5 October with formerBreakfast colleague Dermot Murnaghan.[8] Her BBC salary was a reported £175,000 and her salary at Five was reported to be "in excess of" £300,000.[9]

Five News[edit]Edit

Main article: 5 News

On 18 February 2008 Kaplinsky presented her first broadcast for Five.[2] Her first bulletin which aired at 17:00 was reported to have been watched by a million viewers.[citation needed] She also presented a second programme at 19:00, Monday to Thursday with news correspondent Matt Barbet presenting every Friday.

On 21 August 2008, she begun her first maternity leave from Five, Isla Traquair and Barbet stood in for her until 16 February 2009. Following her return she only hosted the 17:00 programme. From 18 March 2010 she started her second maternity leave with Barbet again standing in for her.

On 14 October 2010, Kaplinsky announced that she was leaving her job at Channel 5 at the end of 2010, having spent much of her three years at the broadcaster on maternity leave.[10] On 23 December 2010, she presented her final bulletin for Five News.


Main article: ITV

Kaplinsky's first presenting role with ITV was in July 2011, when she hosted a new Sunday night entertainment series Born to Shine.[11][12]

On 3 August 2011, it was announced that Kaplinsky present ITV's London Tonight, providing maternity leave cover for Nina Hossain, she was also the relief presenter of the main ITV News programmes from mid-November until Spring 2012,[13] but has since become a permanent member of the news team, currently working on a freelance basis.

She has made an appearance on the ITV panel show That Sunday Night Show in 2011, and has also made a number of contributions to ITV's Text Santa appeal.

On 19 August 2013, Natasha presented The People's Medal, a one-off documentary about The Queen's Birthday Honours List.[14]

On 29 October 2013, Natasha hosted one-off documentary On the Run, alongside Mark Williams-Thomas. The show was originally due to air in August, but was delayed until the Autumn.[15] Kaplinsky and Williams-Thomas teamed up once again for another one-off documentary called Missing Without Trace, which aired on 12 November 2013 and was watched by 2.59 million viewers.[16]

Other television work[edit]Edit

Kaplinsky has appeared in a number of episodes of the sitcom My Hero, reading the news, mainly reports of character Thermoman's heroic deeds. In July 2005 she hosted the one-off special Strictly African Dancing alongside Martin Offiah. Kaplinsky has also hosted Making Your Mind Up, the UK qualifier for the Eurovision Song Contest.

On 18 November 2005, Kaplinsky hosted the BBC's annual Children in Need charity telethon, alongside Fearne Cotton and Terry Wogan, and again in 2006, on 17 November. In 2003, she made an appearance on Have I Got News For You.

In 2008, she made a cameo appearance in the BBC television series Torchwood as archive footage for the millennium in the directory of geological studies by DkMd in 2005.

Kaplinsky presented the BBC's New Year Live in 2006 and 2007. In 2011, she presented ITV's live coverage.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]Edit

Main article: Strictly Come Dancing

In 2004, Kaplinsky participated in the first series of the celebrity ballroom dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing and along with partner Brendan Cole, went on to win the competition, although she revealed during an interview withThe Mirror, that she'd been forced by the BBC to take part.[17] She then co-presented the first half of the second series in 2004 with Bruce Forsyth, as maternity cover for regular presenter, Tess Daly. Kaplinsky returned to the show in 2012, participating in the Christmas Special.

Personal life[edit]Edit

On 21 August 2005, Kaplinsky married Justin Bower, an investment banker from London at Babington HouseSomerset,[19] whom she met on a blind date six months earlier.[20]

In April 2008, Kaplinsky announced she was pregnant with their first child, six weeks after her debut on Five News. On 25 September 2008, Five News revealed that Kaplinsky had given birth to a son,[21] whom she and Bower later named Arlo, over two weeks after he was born.

On 7 October 2009, Natasha informed Five bosses she was pregnant again.[22] On 9 April 2010 she gave birth to a daughter, Angelica Pearl Bower.[23][24]

On 8 February 2011, Natasha commented in a BBC radio interview on Steve Wright in the Afternoon that she and her husband Justin Bower had performed as disguised extras for the English National Ballet although she "had insisted that her name was not used in the programme". In the production of Romeo and Juliet she had performed as "Wench number 7" at the London Coliseum.

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